Deer_Kevin Huhn.tif

Kevin Huhn bagged this big buck during the 2019 gun season.

While many things have been cancelled due to the pandemic, hunting is not one of them. The fresh air and adrenalin pumping are welcomed this year more than ever.

For those who are hitting the woods for the first time, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters of all ages to celebrate their first hunt with a free first harvest and first hunting experience certificate.

"The first time you harvest an animal can be very exciting, but even the first time sitting in a tree stand or setting a trap can be memorable," said Matthew Gross, DNR assistant big game specialist. "The DNR also offers first hunting experience certificates to commemorate the occasion."

To obtain a certificate, visit the first certificate page on the DNR website and select which species or experience to celebrate. Hunters can submit a photograph of their special moment as well as details about the experience, including when and where the animal was harvested. All information will be displayed on the free, customized certificate to help mark the occasion.

Hunters can expect to receive their certificate electronically within a few weeks of submitting the form.

The 2020 deer-hunting season will continue Wisconsin’s strong hunting heritage. Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in record book entries for the size of its bucks, and there are ample opportunities to see and harvest deer in most of areas of the state.

With over seven million acres of land open to public access in a wide range of habitats, there are endless ways to get out there and explore hunting adventures. While some winter losses are experienced every year, they were not known to be significant this past winter. Population objectives in most northern deer management units are to increase deer numbers. In order to achieve those objectives, three northern units will see buck-only deer seasons, and the remaining northern units will provide at least some limited antlerless hunting opportunities. The farmland areas of the state saw a relatively mild winter overall despite short periods of snow and cold, and the effects of winter are not expected to negatively impact the herd. Excellent deer hunting opportunities can be found in the farmland areas of the state, although the land in this area is more privately owned. However, public land can provide deer sightings and hunting excitement, especially early in the season.

Traditional nine-day gun deer season opens annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In 2020, the hunt occurs Nov. 21-29. The muzzleloader season occurs annually during the 10 days immediately following the nine-day gun season. In 2020, the season will run Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 and is open statewide. There is no separate muzzleloader license, and any gun harvest authorizations that were not filled during previous gun seasons may be filled during the muzzleloader season.

For a complete overview of all deer hunting rules including changes for this season, please check the 2020 Wisconsin Hunting Regulations available online or at hunting license vendors. For additional information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “deer.” There, you will find an abundance of helpful information including FAQs, maps, resources to help find a place to hunt and more.

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